Nuff Said: Bonhoeffer too popular? When $17.38 changes a life.. Churches & communication… The death of cultural Christianity… A college president stands up… Star Wars cast acapella

“Nuff said” is a collection of saved entries from across the interwebs. Here are some interesting, provocative and fun things for your reading and viewing:

1. Bonhoeffer too popular?

Geoff Holsclaw wrote last year about the danger of German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s rising popularity causing us to miss the point of Bonhoeffer. Quoting the pastor is trendy as is building theological constructs out of his writings. He’s mesmerizing to many because of his tragic death – he was killed in a Nazi prison camp just days before the Allies liberated the camp.

Holsclaw points out:

The forgotten lesson of Bonhoeffer is not that we should all strive to be more like him, but that we should strive to be a church that wouldn’t need him!

I worry that people will either look for the next Bonheoffer or try to be the next Bonhoeffer in some heroic protest, rather than entering the more humble protests of daily life.

You see, Bonhoeffer had to be Bonhoeffer because the national church in Germany failed to be the church at all.

[The real fear is that] we in America might be the type of church that, in a time of crisis, will capitulate to preserving the American Dream rather than living as a Kingdom Reality. Let us not make Bonhoeffer merely into a Christian Celebrity…

2. When $17.38 changes a life

n-AGARDNER-large570You’ve got to read Andrea Gardner’s account of when someone graciously paid her grocery bill of $17.38. It begs us to ask “do we see people?” It encourages us to assume the best. To put ourselves in someone else’s shoes instead of getting wrapped up in our own life’s mini (or many) dramas.

We never know when simply putting someone else first enables them to feel “seen.” Noticed. Appreciated.

A $20 bill is worth breaking when $17.38 winds up being a difference-maker in another’s life. Keep that $2.62 change as a reminder that it’s worth seeing others.

3. Churches and communication

This 2013 Christianity Today article may seem a moot point, but you’d be surprised how many church leaders stink at communicating well. I don’t mean preaching. I mean simple telling people “what’s up.” Our associate pastor Neal Nelson reminds our church staff often, “Communicating is one of the hardest things we do.”

The article urges churches:

  • It’s a post-website world, but you still need a website.

No longer are first impressions what a guest receives when they visit your church meeting. Rather, guests form their first impressions through your digital front door. Does your “greeter ministry” extend to your website and social media? Are you warm, welcoming and loving online?

Some will find your church through its website, but more than likely, they’ll find it through a friend on Facebook or Twitter who recommends the church, points to a video or story on the church’s website, or some other form of word-of-mouth communication.

  • Mobile matters.

Great practical tip! Most will visit your website on their iPhone. How does it look there? A beautiful site on a computer screen may look downright ugly on a small screen. Make sure your mobile version is easy to use and navigate.

  • Don’t forget email.

Email is a communication ballet. Make yours attractive, well-written and as succinct as possible. People are bombarded with email daily. Don’t let yours fall through the cracks by unnecessary email. Be wise, timely and strategic. Also…

Use your emails to point to specific places on your website. Collect email addresses whenever possible, and make sure your lists are current.

  • Time is precious.

Essentially, if what you’re wanting people to click on isn’t helpful, inspirational or fun consistently, you’re conditioning them to stop clicking. It’s one thing to provide links to your website, but if your content is boring, people will learn not to visit again. Don’t waste people’s time with boring. Have fun.

A recent post by two of our church staff illustrates that your website needs to interesting, light-hearted and fun just as much as it is informational and directive.

Put high-quality articles and videos you already have onto your church’s website so that there are always valuable things to point to from your social media and e-mail channels. Encourage your staff and volunteers to use scheduling tools in Facebook and Twitter that allow you to post updates in advance, keeping them on a regular schedule and limiting effort to one or two blocks of time each week.

4. Cultural Christianity Is Dying, and That’s a Good Thing

The reality is that the number of those professing to be Christians may be in decline, but that’s because it’s unpopular to be a Christ-follower in today’s culture.

Ed Stetzer’s article points out:

Cultural Christianity is dying because nominal Christians are becoming more and more comfortable with giving up their labels.

In short, people realize that they don’t get cultural mileage anymore from identifying as a Christian. Why call yourself a Christian these days if you really don’t believe in the Bible’s teachings? If it creates discomfort at work or school? It may appear that the church is losing ground, but if the people leaving were only associated for personal gain or comfort, were they really part of the church to begin with?

5. A college president stands up

President Everett Piper of Oklahoma Wesleyan University called America’s college students to the carpet in a recent blog post on the university’s site.

“Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are victims. Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them ‘feel bad’ about themselves, is a ‘hater,’ a ‘bigot,’ an ‘oppressor,’ and a ‘victimizer.’”

When a student at his Christian university complained that a sermon in chapel made them feel victimized and guilty (apparently, some college students today don’t know what conviction feels like?), rather than capitulate, Piper pounced:

The university needs to recognize that our obligation is to challenge bad thinking and bad ideas and not coddle individuals in their self-absorption and narcissism. If you want the chaplain to tell you you’re a victim rather than tell you that you need virtue, this may not be the university you’re looking for. If you want to complain about a sermon that makes you feel less than loving for not showing love, this might be the wrong place.”

2015 has been a year where we’ve seen the alarming erosion of the high value of the right of expression (unless it’s liberal expression). Whether it was outrage at the University of Missouri that led to its president’s resignation or to Yale where students signed a petition to repeal the first amendment, college students across America seem more interested in mob rule than disciplined thought and open discourse.

6. Star Wars cast, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots… acapella

We showed this as a bumper to our church’s special showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens last night. We call events like that “funtivities.” They are intentional opportunities that we embrace to provide a fun place to invite people and build relationships and goodwill. We rented one of the theaters, and catered a meal in the movie. We also provided several free tickets to the Virginia Tech Police Department for the showing.

Also in Nuff Said

  1. ‘Nuff said: Surviving Christmas Shoes, Sexy Christianity, Strange Fire, War on Christians
  2. ‘Nuff said: Fake friends, wrecking friends, loss of interaction, Hello-my name is Church
  3. Nuff said: Extroversion vs Introversion, Are you naked?, Christian resolutions, Recommending books.. and more
  4. Nuff said: Majestic Hotel, smartphones and sleep, church signs, church history, imperialist Christian missionaries
  5. Nuff said: Noah and Tim Tebow, Repenters, Driscoll’s apology, Let it go-please, abortion speech, Urkaine, and help for those who don’t want to raise their hands in worship
  6. Nuff said: Social media help, smart phones and dumb people, ministry to youth on social media
  7. Nuff said: Bad news believers, hashtag diplomacy, silver bullet of discipleship, single and satisfied?, kids sports, Kid President
  8. Nuff said: 10 commitments, the power of definitions, leaving your church well, ways you’re doing Twitter wrong, NO!, and more
  9. Nuff said: Trusting scripture, a Gospel without words, a Trader or a Christian?, Does Powerpoint help?, Be a people person, Selfies Anonymous
  10. Nuff Said: Son of Hamas, Elders as Disciple Makers, Hipster Quitter, Caveats to the #IceBucketChallenge, the new face of the IMB,
  11. ‘Nuff Said: Improving Your “Do,” Things to pray for your kids, 20 things you shouldn’t do if you’re over 20, 30 things you may already be doing that impress others, when a cult repents, too much phone? and Star Trek
  12. Nuff said: Fix annoying iOS 8 tidbits, charts!, the world’s largest religion, why working from a coffee shop may not be a good idea
  13. Nuff said: Saving Daylight, the church “stand and greet time,” the iPhone cone, why go to church and more
  14. Nuff said: #1 Bible translations, Cause of Divorce, Donald Miller spirituality, coffee mugs, trusted professions
  15. Nuff said: Cool air, on the wrong side of history, iPhone history, utilitarianism, Gmail helps, a heavenly visit?
  16. Nuff Said: Demise of blog commenting, Small Groups make a BIG difference, Questions for sleepy Christians, & 11 books we lie about reading
  17. Nuff said: A week later with the same-sex ruling
  18. Nuff Said: Why Churches Should Stay Home on Halloween, Photoshop Alternatives, Dumb Ideas About Jesus, The Power of Next, Discipleship DNA, What Ben Carson would do first if elected President
  19. Nuff Said: Bonhoeffer too popular? When $17.38 changes a life.. Churches & communication… The death of cultural Christianity… A college president stands up… Star Wars cast acapella
  20. Nuff said: Impractical Jokers save the day, Watch Pompeii get destroyed, How to deal with crisis, How to reach millennials, Blacksburg Winter Storm aerial footage, 9 reasons the church need to reach college students
  21. Nuff said: Pastor ponderings
  22. Nuff said: A tribute to millennials as college starts again
  23. Nuff Said: Tech companies trumping Trump, Helping authors, Pastors who ignore phone calls, ways for busy moms to be in the Bible, Frankfurter Sandwiches and more

View the entire series

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